Session: #88

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Funerary Practices at Çatalhöyük and in the Neolithic Near East: Multidisciplinary Perspectives
Neolithic Çatalhöyük (7100-5950 cal BC), located in south central Anatolia, is one of the largest and best-preserved Neolithic settlements in the Near East. The site is characterized by a pattern of densely agglomerated domestic structures; to date, evidence for public/non-domestic buildings and spaces is lacking. Çatalhöyük is well-known for its rich array of symbolic/ritual traditions, which is expressed via wall paintings, animal installations, figurines and funerary practices. Human burials represent one of the most important types of sociocultural evidence at Çatalhöyük. The large number of burials, excellent preservation, and variable funerary practices, provide a unique opportunity to address a suite of research questions, including:
a) How are funerary practices at Çatalhöyük indicative of social distinction in this community?
b) How do funerary practices vary over time at Çatalhöyük, and do these changes correlate with observed demographic changes at the site?
c) What selection criteria prompted the use of specific items (floral, faunal, and artefactual) in funerary practices?
And, especially:
d) How do the above patterns fit within the broader context of the Near Eastern Neolithic?
By including contributions from a wide range of disciplines (biological and socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, zooarchaeology, and palaeobotany), this session presents interdisciplinary perspectives on funerary practices at Çatalhöyük and more generally in the Neolithic Near East in order to stimulate discussion of the ways in which funerary remains, in general, contribute to understanding once living communities.
Neolithic, Funerary practices, Çatalhöyük, Near East
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Marco Milella (Switzerland) 1
Christopher Knüsel (France) 2
Scott Haddow (Turkey) 3
1. Department of Anthropology, University of Zurich
2. De la Préhistoire à l'Actuel: Culture, Environnement, et Anthropologie (PACEA), Université de Bordeaux,
3. Department of Archaeology and Art History Koç University